Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home2/ljdunn/public_html/socialinsanfrancisco.com/index.php:2) in /home2/ljdunn/public_html/socialinsanfrancisco.com/wp-includes/feed-rss2.php on line 8
Inspiration – San Fran http://socialinsanfrancisco.com Join the Fun! Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:57:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 Have a Love Affair With YOURSELF http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/have-a-love-affair-with-yourself/ Fri, 14 Feb 2014 11:39:03 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=2356

HappyBalloons-PhotopinSeveral years ago, of my gal-pals called me and said, “I’m walking down a new path, starting today. I’m going to have a love affair with myself. I’m taking a room at the beach and doing nothing but be kind to myself for the next week.”

I hung up the phone and thought, “Wow!”

Although we can’t all go to the beach for a week, we sure can try out the first part and get the hug-um/squeeze-um/love-ums on with ourselves. [Get your mind out of the gutter.]

I’m thinking about her advice today, and I’m convinced she had the right idea.

If you don’t love on yourself, how are you going to be in any shape to love on someone else?

I’m a huge fan of Dr. Margaret Paul. I’ve posted on her before and she always makes me think. A few weeks back she did a post called “Ecstatic Moments” on HuffPost. She talks about “those moments when the love or joy feels so big you think you’re going to burst.”

I adore those moments, and prize them for their purity. What makes my heart dance?

  • Holding my honey’s hand in a busy restaurant
  • Writing a great sentence
  • A quiet hour in my garden
  • The sound of my daughter singing in her crib

Dr. Paul’s post made me pause and pay attention. (And of course I wanted to share the best parts of it with you!)

The key to having of these [ecstatic] moments is that you also have to be willing to feel the pain of life — the heartbreak, loneliness, grief and helplessness over others and over events.

…painful feelings exist in the same place in the heart, so if you close down to the pain of life, you also close down to the joy of life.

The challenge is that you might never have learned how to manage the pain of life, so you might be protecting against it in numerous ways.

When your heart is closed, you cannot feel the joy of life.

Love is what spirit is, what God is, and when your heart is open to love, you get filled up with love. When your heart is closed due to protecting against feeling the pain of life, then the love and the joy of life cannot enter. If you want more ecstatic moments in your life, then you need to learn how to lovingly manage the pain of life, rather than continue to avoid it.

Compassion feels wonderful, but you can’t just wait for someone else to give it to you. [You must give it to yourself!]

When your intent is to love yourself rather than protect against pain, then the door is open for compassion to enter your heart. This is what keeps your heart open to both the pain and the love and joy of life.

* * * * *

The moral of the story: if you want to feel those “drunk on the joy of life moments,” it’s time to start up that mad, torrid love affair with yourself.

What do you think? Are these ladies onto something? How are YOU doing in the self-love department? What gives you those ecstatic moments? Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook!

~ Jenny
@JennyHansenCA

About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm.

© 2014 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

photo credit: Camdiluv ♥ via photopin cc

]]>
Meditating Moment by Moment http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/meditating-moment-by-moment/ Sun, 07 Jul 2013 14:00:15 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=1366

By KM Huber

In almost every post, I blog about present moment awareness, yet I, too, experience many moments that are less than mindful. Sometimes, those moments last for weeks but mindfulness has taught me that all moments pass and by staying present, I am open to the infinite possibilities every moment offers.

That is particularly helpful when I am in a lupus flare, which is akin to being in a freefall, making present moment awareness a real challenge.

As a dear friend pointed out, a flare is a flash of light, and this recent lupus flare is full of light for me. It is not so much a matter of physical or emotional discomfort but more a matter of “nowness” as Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche calls it:

“The way to relax, or rest the mind in nowness, is through the practice of meditation. In meditation you take an unbiased approach. You let things be as they are, without judgment, and in that way you yourself learn to be.” (Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche)

I, myself, learning to be is what these flares feel like, for although I am not physically in motion, emotionally I am all over the place. Sometimes, the flare feels like a game of pinball, silver-steeled balls bumping up against this teaching only to zip over to that tradition and back up to yet another healing alternative–all disappearing only to re-emerge.

No doubt that sounds rather scattered and perhaps unpleasant but it does not feel that way. Frankly, it feels like heightened awareness for unlike the game of pinball, I am allowed to sit in the energy of each moment and explore it through the practice of meditation.

“Sitting meditation opens us to each and every moment of our life. Each moment is totally unique and unknown…. This very moment, free of conceptual overlay, is completely unique. It is absolutely unknown. We’ve never experienced this very moment before, and the next moment will not be the same as the one we are in now. Meditation teaches us how to relate to life directly, so that we can truly experience the present moment, free from conceptual overlay.” (Pema Chödrön, How to Meditate: A Practical Guide)

Taking Off 0613

In the eyes open meditation that Pema Chödrön is describing, we separate the storyline or thoughts–the conceptual overlay–from the energy of the emotion or sensation we are feeling. In essence, we are open to it.

I am new to the eyes open meditation that Pema Chödrön advocates and first tried it during an online retreat offered by the Omega Institute. In eyes open meditation, the gaze is downward but the head is erect and one is constantly aware of what is occurring in the present moment.

“Open the eyes, because it furthers this idea of wakefulness. We are not meditating in hopes of going further into sleep, so to speak.We are not internalizing. This isn’t a transcendental type of meditation where you’re trying to go to special states of consciousness.Rather, we meditate to become completely open to life— and to all the qualities of life or anything that might come along” (Pema Chödrön, How to Medicate: A Practical Guide).

Meditating with my eyes open was not as difficult as I thought it might be, even the first time, but then, I have the advantage of being in a flare, of being in a flash of light. In a flare, any moment of discomfort pales in comparison to opening one’s self to all that might come along. Mindfulness is a consistent brightness, not just a moment’s flash.

Beyond the flare, practicing this wakeful kind of meditation in the morning prepares me for the rest of my day. Sitting meditation isn’t always comfortable and neither is life but meditation helps us sit down into the shifting emotional energy that flows through our daily lives.

We learn to go deep, beneath the conceptual overlay or storyline, to the energy of our emotions, of our pain. When we sit within the energy of our pain, we see into the state of us. There, we begin to heal—to suffer less—for we accept the alternating pain and pleasure that is the nature of our human condition, part and parcel. We, ourselves, learn to be.

*******************************

KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

]]>
When the Center Can No Longer Hold, What Then? http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/when-the-center-can-no-longer-hold-what-then/ Sun, 30 Jun 2013 14:00:50 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=1324

By KM Huber

Dukkha is the first of the Four Noble Truths in Buddhism and is usually translated as suffering, a concept that has always appealed to me about as much as the phrase falling apart, hence my on-again, off-again nearly thirty-year relationship with Buddhism.

Yet, it is to Buddhism that I always return, rather like everywhere I go there I am for as the Buddha said, “I teach only one thing: suffering and the cessation of suffering” (Pema Chödrön, How to Meditate: A Practical Guide).

What the Buddha did not say was “I teach pain and the cessation of pain.” Pain is a part of life but whether or not we choose to suffer is another matter.
Bloom of Peace 0613

While dukkha is the word the Buddha is said to have used for suffering, dukkha has more than one level. The first level concerns mostly our physical bodies and ultimately the fact that we die. This kind of suffering involves “outer discomforts” or physical pain.

The second level of suffering pertains more to our stress/anxiety in accepting that nothing stays the same, no matter how hard we might try to make it so. This is the “dukkha produced by change.”

The third level of suffering is often referred to as the “dukkha of conditioned states,” translated as “dissatisfaction” or “never satisfied.” I like Pema Chödrön’s explanation:

“Dukkha is kept alive by being continually dissatisfied with the reality of the human condition, which means being continually dissatisfied with the fact that pleasant and unpleasant situations are part and parcel of life.”

Over the decades, it actually has become apparent that if I immerse myself into each moment, the first two levels of suffering fade but I am still faced with the dukkha of conditioned states and for me, the most difficult. It is my choice whether to be dissatisfied or to accept that the moment will pass, hence the inherent difficulty with impermanence.

For any level of dukkha, meditation helps us strip away our storylines, the drama surrounding our pain. Meditation takes us into the energy of our suffering so whether or not we can do anything about the circumstances, we can begin to appreciate they will change.

If we accept that we fall apart and come together all through our lives, we begin to perceive life through compassionate eyes, first with ourselves and later with all those circumstances beyond our control. Because we are human, compassion is not our permanent state but the choice to return to compassion is always ours. It is our inner version of war and peace.

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned….”
~William Butler Yeats~

Every time I read Yeats’ “The Second Coming,” a poem written after World War I, I am reminded that was the war to end all wars, as if any war ever could. When we are at war with ourselves, we must remember that having compassion with ourselves when the center can no longer hold is where peace begins for everyone.

All three levels of dukkha wend their way through our lives: physical pain, decay, and death claim each of us; life will not stay the same for anyone; pleasure and pain are the states of the human condition.

The Buddha said, “I teach only one thing: suffering and the cessation of suffering.” Things fall apart and come together again. The suffering, or dukkha, is up to us.

*******************************

KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

]]>
The Whole World That is Home http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/the-whole-world-that-home/ Sun, 23 Jun 2013 14:00:54 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=1297

By KM Huber

It is revealing how far one will travel only to discover that one was always home. For me, it is always a return to the reality of everywhere I go, there I am.

The last time was just a few months ago, a physical distance of over 2000 miles, and a trip in the making for many years. I flew across the United States, leaving the subtropical climate of the American South for the high plains desert of the American West.

It is no exaggeration to say that I went from sea level to a mile high in a matter of hours, and in my excitement, I never noticed for it had been so many years since I had visited what was once home.

Of course, there is no way to prepare for such a trip home, even one without such altitude extremes for what was home is now another place entirely with a life and tempo all its own.

“lift the veil
that obscures the heart
and there
you will find
what you are looking for”
~Kabir (India, 15th century)~

A visit to what was once home requires us to open our eyes to what “our hometown” is now, a place we no longer call home and a place that no longer calls to us, save in memory. That is the veil we lift if we are to experience home at all.

There are streets not much changed and others completely new but already familiar to those who now make this town their home. There are new houses with new lives, making memories, and old houses no longer in evidence, not even a brick or board, but in memory they never age.

The hours I spent in my former hometown— long enough to see the sun set and rise—was a constant barrage of sixties moments competing with the growth that marks us all, the march of time. The torrent of memories cascaded into the next few days, as I drove across one state into another, all familiar roads like the town that once was home.
Wyoming rock face 0413

For over four decades, the wide-open, windy vistas of the American West defined me–birth, youth, adulthood, and most of middle age—place was prominent in my life that was, often the only anchor in tempest-tossed seas.

It is not lost on me that I mix the imagery of that past life–so arid and wild–with the life I have now, not as wild nor arid at all.

The place that I call home has changed from desolate, vast plains and mountain slopes of snow to the verdant green carpet surrounding Waverly pond as well as the Gulf of Mexico, blue beneath towering palms. And I have changed with it.

Now a sexagenarian, home is among the Live Oaks draped with moss, creating one canopy road after another. In every season, something blooms or yet another color emerges in the ever-changing foliage.

There is lushness in my later years and for me, that is as it should be. I came late to the realization of “If you look for the Truth outside yourself, it gets farther and farther away” (Tung Shan).

Yet, without those early years of traversing the high plains desert that held my heart, I might never have realized that what I sought was always within me.

My trip home, these many years later, confirmed a life lived is just that, which is a lot. Driving across the desert plains in spring, I saw that old life in every sagebrush stock, rock outcropping, or hogback hill that whisked by my window. It all passed so quickly—just as it had when I lived it–vast and sweeping but complete in itself.

“The whole world is you,
yet you keep thinking
there is something else.”
~ Hsueh Feng~

What is inside each one of us is the whole world that is each one of us. What is inside us colors the way we are in the world, for our everyday lives are a mere reflection of what is in our hearts.

The two regions I have called home are worlds apart geographically and geologically, and I am grateful for the gifts of each, for only now is home no longer a location but the whole world that I am in any place, in any moment.

*******************************

KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

]]>
The Beauty and Chaos of Meeting our Edge http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/the-beauty-and-chaos-meeting-our-edge/ Sun, 16 Jun 2013 14:00:07 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=1270

By KM Huber

“The reason everything looks beautiful is because it is out of balance, but its background is always in perfect harmony” (Shunryu Suzuki). Appreciating present moment awareness as beauty can be a challenge for just as readily, living in the moment can seem like chaos. Regardless, the background of existence is ever in balance.

The background balance is the source of infinite possibilities available in every moment we have. Our lives are up-and-down, in and out, and all the while, the undulating harmony of existence allows this and then that.

There are many names for such harmony—Buddha nature, the web that has no weaver, God, Allah, the Tao— and underlying them all is impermanence, the alternating pain and pleasure that is part and parcel of the human condition.

All the great traditions offer ways to accept impermanence, for if we can wrap ourselves around the idea that change is what offers us opportunities, we can live in the moment with acceptance of whatever comes our way.

There is no one way to present moment awareness but all the traditions encourage living life fully present. They offer prayer and meditation as tools to finding our middle way for balance is uniquely personal.

It is the nature of impermanence that our lives require constant adjustment. Just when we think we have found balance, a way to live that accounts for most possibilities, something changes. Sometimes, everything changes or at least seems that way.
Waverly palms 0513

Those are the moments of greatest opportunity, and they often require everything of us. Our emotions rage. These are not moments to be passed off in positive platitudes or repressed in any way. These are moments to explore the energy beneath the emotion.

Many of the traditions define emotion as raw energy with thought or a story attached to it. Usually, story after story emerges as our emotions churn, and the more stories there are, the more we attach to those thoughts. Before we know it, our thoughts have removed us from the raw energy of what is occurring.

The result is we either stuff the emotion away or devise a strategy to control what we are feeling but regardless, we do not immerse ourselves in the rawness. However, impermanence is the nature of existence so we never lack for opportunity.

What present moment awareness offers is a way to wake up and be in the rawness. It plunges us into the energy without the thoughts.

It is not surprising that we are resistant to being in the moment for it means accepting the unknown, although in general, we accept that life is unpredictable. We want a certain amount of unpredictability in our lives but we do not want to be uncomfortable.

When something outside our regular routine occurs, we get unsettled, and we struggle for balance. Whether the occurrence is as minor as not being able to get a cup of coffee or if it is life-changing, accepting impermanence as the nature of our lives gives us the power to deal with change. It is not approval of any event but acceptance of impermanence.

“So this place of meeting our edge, of accepting the present moment and the unknown, is a very powerful place for the person who wishes to awaken and open their heart and mind…it is what propels us toward transformation…the present moment is the fuel for your personal journey” (Pema Chödrön).

Meditation and prayer are always available to us, no matter where we are in our lives. As two, sustainable resources they take us to our center, to our balance. In finding our unique, middle way, we awaken our hearts and minds to the constant chaos that is the world.

*******************************

KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

]]>
Unhooking: Letting Go of the Story Line http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/unhooking-letting-go-the-story-line/ Sun, 02 Jun 2013 14:00:14 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=1206

By KM Huber

Far too often we get sucked into our emotions, stuck in story lines that repeat and repeat. It causes us pain, emotionally as well as physically. There is a Tibetan word, shenpa, that is often translated as attachment but Pema Chödrön maintains that shenpa is more: it as “…the all-worked-up feeling of…getting hooked on a negative emotion.”

We all know the feeling of tightening when we become upset. Words and thoughts thud inside us, and we tighten up to greet the invader. It is the same with any physical pain that nags us. We get hooked in the sensation.

In order to loosen up and unhook ourselves, we must go deeper than what has been said or done to us, deeper than what we have told ourselves about our pain. We must immerse ourselves in the current of energy underlying our pain, foregoing its story line.

What we release is the drama surrounding the pain as well as what we have told ourselves about it. Our story line is what hooks us but when we sit down in the middle of what is hurting us, we forsake the interpretation for the reality of it.

Anyone who has ever experienced chronic pain—physical, emotional or both–knows that shenpa can easily become the only story we ever live. Yet when we focus on the underlying energy of our chronic pain, we give up its story, no longer content to live the drama.

Unhooking ourselves from shenpa does not mean that we will be completely pain-free—pleasure and pain are part of life–but it does mean we focus on living the lives we have, accepting impermanence as the nature of existence.
Meadow just above East Tensleep Falls

Essential to all life is water; it can be solid as well as liquid. Mark Nepo suggests that how we deal with our pain resembles both forms water takes. “For when trees fall into the ice, the river shatters. But when a large limb falls into the flowing water, the river embraces the weight and floats around it” (The Book of Awakening).

If we view our pain as ice, jagged and hard, we risk living shattered lives of fear and worry, tightly wound in shenpa. However, if we go to the energy underlying our pain—its source–we learn to release it in small amounts so it is a burden we can bear.

In letting go of the story of our pain, we immerse ourselves into the energy of our everyday lives. In releasing the drama of our pain for the experience of it, our pain flows with us and not against us. “Once given full attention, you will come back—one drop at a time— into the tide of the living” (Nepo).

Like the river’s path, our lives wend in ways we never imagine. It is life’s way, and pain is within the flow, even if it lasts a lifetime. It is up to us whether it remains sharp, jagged or within the deep current of our lives.

It is ours to show up for the moments of our lives, to trust that we will absorb our pain and not be shattered by it, no matter how long it takes. There is no limit on our courage or on our love for one another, none at all.

*******************************

KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

]]>
The Open Mind: Like Water Through Rock http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/the-open-mind-like-water-through-rock/ Sun, 26 May 2013 14:00:06 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=1163

By KM HUBER

The open mind, so essential to mindfulness—experiencing without judging—may also be “the gentlest thing in the whole world” (Byron Katie). Not surprisingly, that which is most gentle is most powerful for the open mind, in its awareness, accepts what is.

Acceptance is the power behind the gentleness of the open mind: “Ultimately the truth flows into it and through it, like water through rock” (Katie). Undoubtedly, accepting some truths may seem like water flowing through rock yet imagine the power of that possibility.
Obstacle 0413 C

The power of the open mind is similar to Tonglen, a Buddhist teaching often translated as “sending and taking.” Tonglen “refers to being willing to take in the pain and suffering of ourselves and others and to send out happiness to us all” (Pema Chödrön).

What we take in, we send out in a gentle flow if “…we drop the storyline that goes along with the pain and feel the underlying energy” (Chödrön). In many ways, the open mind is “the bottom line” stripped of judgments and labels, the stuff of storylines.

It is not easy to drop storylines, not easy to resist being pulled in one direction or the other– it is much easier to react–but in the open mind of Tonglen, we stay with the energy that is stirring us. No matter how long or short our stay, in choosing response over reaction, we keep our options open.

In remaining open, we find the way for any truth to flow through us–some call this courage—we appreciate the gentle persistence of water flowing through rock for it is not how long it may take but that it is undertaken at all. That is the power of being gentle.

The open mind is where paradoxes thrive and similes “like water through rock” reveal the world of infinite possibilities for what has never been one moment’s thought may be the next moment’s reality.

*******************************

KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch@gmail.com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

]]>
The Wonder in the Color of Water http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/the-wonder-the-color-water/ Sun, 19 May 2013 14:00:05 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=1128

By KM Huber

There is such wonder in the color of water for it “…takes on the image of the entire world without ever losing its essential clearness,” whether it is a drop in an ocean, a riffle in a mountain stream, a puddle newly born of rain. (Mark Nepo).

In any given moment, the color of water is steel-gray, sky-blue, moss-green or dirt-brown for water easily embraces the colors of any obstacle anywhere, as the nature of water is to embrace, while its essence remains ever clear.

Washing over stones, roaring over a cliff to drop thousands of feet, or raining in torrents, it is the nature of water to take on any landscape for as long as necessary, even eons to fill a desert basin as a great salt lake. The nature of water is transparency for no one color ever stays, and no one outcome is preferred.

Like water, our essential nature is to “…embrace everything clearly without imposing who we are and without losing who we are” (Mark Nepo). It is the nature of human compassion to take on any event, no matter its color, for as long as necessary.

The highest good is like water.
Water gives life to the ten thousand
things and does not strive
.”

~Lao Tsu~

It is not easy for us to take on the color of any experience for our nature is not the nature of water, even if our bodies are more water than tissue and bone.

We are concerned with the image we present to the world—whether or not it reflects our true nature—for it is an image thoughtfully prepared, somewhat opaque, designed to reflect certain colors in certain situations. It is how we survive in the larger current of human nature.

Often, it is easier to remain within the current of human nature, whether or not that is who we actually are, for we are not water gouging the landscape, unaffected by changes in our lives. Yet the nature of water is compassionate for it does not strive but “gives life to the 10,000 things” as the Tao teaches us.

Water is constant to the current that flows through all life–whether as a stagnant pool or massive flood—in all, water remains true to its essence, its role, which is so much more than any color it takes on or change it makes.

Like the nature of water, we are more than any image we reflect or action that we take. In each moment, we have the opportunity to be just as we are—our true essence—reflecting an embrace so similar to the nature of water.

Unlike the nature of water, we are not always totally present in our lives. Our levels of consciousness are not the same for we are aware of the flow of our individual natures within the current of human nature. We have the ability to think and plan.

We tend to attach to extraordinary or ordinary obstacles but the nature of water teaches us not to stay the color of those obstacles but ultimately run true and clear to who we are in the current of human nature.

Beneath the clouds, water desires only to flow, and beneath our tensions and problems, the human spirit wants only to embrace and soften” (Mark Nepo).

The nature of water is a compassionate one, reflecting as colors of the day. We are and are not water. Like water, we embrace our world; unlike water, we choose the nature of that embrace.

*******************************

KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch@gmail.com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

]]>
The Art Of Peace, One Deed At A Time http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/the-art-peace-one-deed-at-a-time/ Sun, 12 May 2013 14:00:19 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=1079

By KM Huber

As impossible as peace seems, whether worldwide or within each one of us, there is an art to peace, and if we will recognize that art, we may find a way to global and personal peace. Of course, we start small.

Whenever I consider the art of peace, I think of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Within commitment is the intent to change what is askew in our lives.

It may not be as difficult as we imagine. Renewing relationships that have gone awry does mean we must re-open our heart to what has been closed but Pema Chödrön maintains it is not such a great effort to re-establish a relationship that serves us, if we will begin by considering that a commitment we once made is now broken.

That does mean we have to let go of the story we’ve been telling ourselves–the why, the what, the how, or who–and just acknowledge “…that we hardened our heart and closed our mind, that we shut someone out. And then we can retake our vow. On the spot—or as a daily practice—we can reaffirm our intention to keep the door open to all sentient beings for the rest of our life” (Pema Chödrön).

Spring Rose 0513

Everyday life, no matter how we approach it, is a practice that requires patience, especially when we do not seem to notice any progress within ourselves or within the world. Often, that is when we need to consider ego, ours and others.

There are four emotions that never involve ego—compassion, gratitude, joy, and love—these four ways have many other names including the four agreements of Don Miguel Ruiz that ask us to be “impeccable” in our speech, not to take whatever occurs personally, to be present in all we do so we are not assuming anything about anyone for when we are present, we are doing the best we can.

The art of peace is available to us in every moment we have for each moment is free from any attachment to what has been or what might be. That we can we affirm our intention to be the best we can be and live with true compassion for ourselves and others in every moment is what keeps peace always within our grasp. We begin by being and staying present.

“That’s the training of the spiritual warrior, the training of cultivating courage and empathy, the training of cultivating love. It would be impossible to count the number of beings in the world who are hurting, but still we aspire to not give up on any of them and to do whatever we can to alleviate their pain” (Pema Chödrön).

In alleviating that pain we must remember the key to the art of peace: the idea of serving rather than helping or fixing anyone or anything. When we truly serve, we do not see others as broken or weak, but we see all of us together as a whole.

When we are clear in our intention of serving, we are open to what is available for all of us. The art of peace is a celebration of the diversity that makes up the whole, an acknowledgment that uniqueness is necessary for completeness.

*******************************

KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch@gmail.com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

]]>
You Are Enough…and Always Have Been http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/you-are-enoughand-always-have-been/ Sun, 05 May 2013 14:00:23 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=1047

By KM Huber

There is an art to being enough, although most of us struggle to believe that we are ever enough. How can we know? Far too often when we want to see if we measure up in any or all aspects of our lives, we look outside ourselves, where the answer never is.

The art of being enough begins with the complete and total acceptance of who we are just as we are, without labeling our shortcomings or our strengths. In Buddhism, this total acceptance of ourselves for all that we are is called maitri, the compassion necessary for true transformation.

Acceptance of ourselves means we are no longer concerned with debits and credits but with the flow of life as it is and where it might take us. Being enough begins inside us. If we are compassionate with ourselves in all that we are and do, our compassion is revealed in the world outside us.

“All streams flow to the sea

because it is lower than they are.

Humility gives it its power.”

~Lao Tzu~

The art of being enough is accepting that we meander with the river of life on our way to the sea. Each horseshoe bend of life is the forgiveness we allow ourselves and others–so essential to the flow of being enough. Each bend reflects a challenge met, yet another way discovered.

Bending with life rather than letting life bend us is the power of humility, a delicate balance of keeping our thinking subordinate to our compassionate heart. The strength of humility is not denying our uniqueness but in expressing it, although those waters seem murky at times. Ego will do that.

When we allow our ego to override our heart, we cut ourselves off from the flow of life. We no longer accept ourselves as we are. Rather, we continuously add up what we are and are not—our debits and credits never balance–and with our abacus of self, we evaluate the world’s worth, which also falls short. Without compassion, we are never enough.

The art of being enough regards life as an adventure with infinite possibilities. Rather than adding up life as a positive or negative, in humility we pursue life for the pure experience of it. We are not trying to mold it to assure a certain outcome; we bend with the possibilities, trusting the flow of being enough.

Waverly bridge in spring 0413

How we live our lives is our unique contribution to the oneness of existence, to the flow that is life–in that, we are always enough. Perhaps the best illustration of being enough is the story of the Hindu master and his apprentice.*

The apprentice is constantly complaining about life, how it measures up or does not. It is never enough. The Hindu master grows weary of the apprentice’s complaints and sends him to purchase salt.

Upon the apprentice’s return, the master tells him to put a handful of salt into a glass of water and drink. The apprentice says the water is bitter. The master smiles and takes the apprentice to a lake.

At the lake, the apprentice is told to throw in a handful of salt and then take a drink from the water’s edge. The apprentice says the water tastes fresh. The master tells the apprentice:

“`The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain… remains…exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in.’”

There is a grace in learning to bend with life—in sipping its daily waters—in being within the meandering flow of life. In the words of the Hindu master, “`…the only thing you can do is…enlarge your sense of things….Stop being a glass. Become a lake.’”

You are enough just as you are.

*All citations are from Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening.

*******************************

KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch@gmail.com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

]]>